As indicated in Specific Aim #1, this Core seeks to extend tissue procurement efforts to enhance translational research efforts of Partnership investigators, including an increased collection of tissues from African American and other minority subjects. Established mechanisms for tissue collection and quality assurance are also in place at VICC through the NCI-supported HTAP Shared Resource and Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN). Investigators leading the full and pilot projects as well as other Partnership investigators are eligible for membership in the VICC. As VICC members, they are entitled to full access to the HTAP and CHTN for services. HTAP has been in operation since 1993 and focuses on providing human tissue samples and histology services to support translational and preclinical aspects of cancer research. It also assists in banking tissue samples for initiatives targeted by the Partnership, such as collection of prostate tissue samples;HTAP has currently banked a large number of tumor tissues for different groups, the largest number of banked specimens consist of breast (3700) and prostate (12,000) cancers. Given the stringent regulatory environment regarding access to tissue and clinical information, HTAP plays a critical role in supplying anonymized or deidentified tissues to researchers and assuring compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The centralized repository is able to remove all patient identifiers from samples upon distribution, while supplying relevant clinical information from the medical record. The VUMC site for CHTN provides a mechanism for prospective collection of fresh and frozen tissues from Vanderbilt and collects roughly 60% of its tissue samples from other affiliated area hospitals (Baptist Hospital and St. Thomas Hospital - Nashville, TN and Memorial Hospital - Chattanooga, TN).As indicated in Specific Aim #4, as a partner in this Core, Dr. Zutter will work closely with Drs. Ballard and Goodwin to electronically link our respective institutions'databases. Since its inception, Vanderbilt has been an active participant in caBIG and is implementing a major institution-wide research-focused biospecimen information management system utilizing caTissue Suite as a major component. Recent advances in the functionality of caTissue Suite has made the software a good match for many of the biospecimen requirements. It provides a mechanism to streamline collection of specimens, providing the ability to track quality control notations, and establishing a centralized inventory of specimen resources. This expertise will be utilized by the Histopathology Core to initiate efforts towards the identification of common data elements, integration of systems and improvements to inventory and reporting capabilities. The Histopathology Core will serve as a platform for interactions among cancer researchers and will provide technical support to research projects, grant applications and publications to faculty in the MMC/VICC/TSU Partnership. For mutual benefit, the Histopathology Core will help MMC and TSU faculty take advantage of the expertise of the VICC. The VICC HTAP Shared Resource has been widely and extensively used by the cancer research community. In addition to tissue procurement other services available include 1) chart review providing information on treatment protocols, exposure history, and outcome;2) protocol development and consulting;3) research histology (human and animal samples);4) laser capture microscopy;5) custom tissue array block construction and analysis and 6) access to digital microscopy/automated software imaging systems. HTAP has also evolved as a consultative service, with the pathologists providing morphologic interpretation of selected animal models and comparison with relevant human conditions upon request. VICC investigators will benefit from access to large numbers of minority tissue samples available to projects focusing on cancer disparity research.
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